Danny Meyer, the powerhouse behind such hits as Shake Shack and Eleven Madison Park, is almost done reinventing the downstairs space at Ian Schrager's Gramercy Park Hotel. The spot was formerly home to the failed upscale Chinese restaurant Wakiya; as you can see here Meyer's team has been busy transforming the dreary cave into a rustic bar and Italian trattoria. Dinner service starts tomorrow, and yesterday the main dining space, which seats 70, was filled with staffers training for the big debut.
In the dining space, chef Nick Anderer will serve a seasonal, locally-sourced Roman-inspired menu. Besides fresh-made pasta, options will include oxtail; lamb's neck; and whole, roasted suckling pig for two. (Maialino is Italian for roast suckling pig.) A separate menu of small plates, snacks, sandwiches, and pastries will be served in the 55-seat front bar room. The cheese and wine are Italian only, but a deli-style meat slicer will carve up a dozen domestic and international items. (The bar will eventually be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.) And dessert is in the capable hands of Gramercy Tavern vet Jennifer Shelbo, who's been putting new twists on torta della nonna and gelato.
Maialino // 2 Lexington Avenue at 21st Street, in the Gramercy Park Hotel // (212) 777-2410